Since first light in early 2000, operational global quantitative retrievals of aerosol properties over land have been made from MODIS observed spectral reflectance. These products have been continuously evaluated and validated, and opportunities for improvements have been noted. We have replaced the original algorithm by improving surface reflectance assumptions, the aerosol model optical properties and the radiative transfer code used to create the lookup tables. The new algorithm (known as Version 5.2 or V5.2) performs a simultaneous inversion of two visible (0.47 and 0.66 micron) and one shortwave-IR (2.12 micron) channel, making use of the coarse aerosol information content contained in the 2.12 micron channel. Inversion of the three channels yields three nearly independent parameters, the aerosol optical depth (tau) at 0.55 micron, the non-dust or fine weighting (eta) and the surface reflectance at 2.12 micron. Finally, retrievals of small magnitude negative tau values (down to -0.05) are considered valid, thus normalizing the statistics of tau in near zero tau conditions. On a 'test bed' of 6300 granules from Terra and Aqua, the products from V5.2 show marked improvement over those from the previous versions, including much improved retrievals of tau, where the MODIS/AERONET tau (at 0.55 micron) regression has an equation of: y = 1.01+0.03, R = 0.90. Mean tau for the test bed is reduced from 0.28 to 0.21.